There’s no denying that most dog parents want what’s best for their dogs — who are important members of their family after all. A top concern for many dog parents is making sure their dog’s nutritional needs are met. One of the most important responsibilities of being a dog parent is making sure their dog is fed the right amount of high-quality food.
Because there’s no universal answer to how much food should be given to a dog, feedings will often vary based on factors like the age and life stage, activity level, breed, and overall health of the dog.
Life Stage as an Important Indicator of How Much to Dog Food to Give
A dog’s life stage is the first thing pet parents should consider when feeding their dog. A puppy will have very different dietary requirements than an adult or senior dog.
A body conditioning score chart and a calorie calculator for dogs can help pet parents determine the correct amount of food they should be feeding their dog to maintain a healthy weight.
Feeding a Puppy
Puppies are dogs under one year of age. During their first year of life, puppies experience rapid growth spurts. Those growth spurts burn a lot of energy, so puppies need to be fed a lot of nutritional dog food to keep growing.
In addition to their rapid growth, puppies can be very active and energetic. A puppy’s activity level must also be considered when deciding how much food to give them throughout the day.
For advice about feeding puppies, pet parents should speak to their primary vet or dog nutrition specialist. No two puppies are the same — even two puppies from the same litter could have different nutritional needs.
Feeding Adult and Senior Dogs
Dogs aged over one year are regarded as adult dogs. The amount of food to feed an adult dog is heavily based on the dog breed and size.
Most adult dogs need a maintenance diet, which provides adequate nutrition to maintain a healthy body conditioning score. However, if they’re an active working dog or performance athlete, they’ll need a diet that provides them with a lot of energy.
After an adult dog becomes a senior, they may require more food to help stave off muscle loss and maintain brain function. Probiotics and digestive supplements for dogs can also be added to their diet to prevent physical deterioration as they age. The dog’s primary vet can provide additional dog health advice to pet parents as their dog ages.
Obesity can happen if a pet parent overfeeds their dog or feeds them a diet that isn’t nutritionally balanced. An overweight dog can be prone to additional health problems that including:
- Arthritis of the joints
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Breathing difficulty — also called dyspnea
- Loss of quality of life
If a dog becomes overweight, the pet parent should work closely with their primary vet or dog nutrition specialist to create a weight loss plan. Regulating a dog’s calorie intake is much more effective for weight loss than exercise alone.
Fuzzy is also here to help 24/7 via Live Vet Chat and can answer any questions or concerns pet parents have about their dog's nutritional needs.